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Real estate agent
A real estate agent is a professional with a real estate license who works under a broker and assists both buyers and sellers in the home-buying process.
Real estate broker
A real estate broker is a real estate agent who has passed a state broker’s exam and met a minimum number of transactions. These brokers are able to work on their own or hire their own agents.
A Realtor is a real estate agent who specifically is a member of the National Association of Realtors. NAR has a code of standards and ethics that members must adhere to.
Refinancing is when you restructure your home loan replacing your old loan with an entirely new loan that has different rates and payment structures. The main reason people refinance their home loans is to get a lower interest rate on their mortgage and therefore lower not only the monthly payment but also the overall debt owed.
An actively licensed real estate agent and REALTOR® are often used interchangeably, although not every real estate agent is a REALTOR®. A REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).
A REALTOR® promises to uphold the Code of Ethics of the association and to hold each other accountable for when serving the public, customers, clients and each other, with a high standard of practice and care.

Rectangular survey system
A system established in 1785 by the federal government that provides for surveying and describing land by reference to principal meridians and base lines.
A six-mile strip of land measured east and west from the meridian lines.
Real estate
Land; a portion of the earth’s surface extending downward to the center of the earth and upward infinitely into space, including all things permanently attached thereto, whether by nature or by man.
Real estate broker
Any person, partnership, association, or corporation that sells (or offers to sell), buys (or offers to buy), or negotiates the purchase, sale, or exchange of real estate, or that leases (or offers to lease) or rents (or offers to rent) any real estate or the improvements thereon for others and for a compensation or valuable consideration. A real estate broker may not conduct business without a real estate broker’s license.
Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)
Ownership of real estate by a group of individual investors who purchase certificates of ownership in a trust. The trust invests in real property and distributes the profits back to the investors free of corporate income tax.
Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)
The federal law ensuring that the buyer and seller in a real estate transaction have knowledge of all the settlement costs when the purchase of a one to four-family residential dwelling is financed by a federally related mortgage loan. Prohibits kickbacks.
Reality of consent
An element of all valid contracts. Offer and acceptance in a contract usually are taken to mean that reality of consent also is present. This is not the case, however, if any of the following are present: mistake, misrepresentation, fraud, undue influence, or duress.
Real property
Real property consists of land, anything affixed to it so as to be regarded as a permanent part of the land, that which is appurtenant to the land, and that which is immovable by law, including all rights and interests.
A registered trademark term reserved for the sole use of active members of local REALTORS® boards affiliated with the National Association of REALTORS®.
In the year of sale, all depreciation or cost recovery taken on depreciable property in excess of the amount allowed by the straight-line method is subject to recapture provisions as established by the IRS, which has the effect of taxing the excess at ordinary income rates. Recapture is designed to prevent a taxpayer from taking advantage of both accelerated depreciation and capital gain treatment.
The court-appointed custodian of property involved in litigation, pending final disposition of the matter before the court.
The final step in the appraisal process in which the appraiser reconciles the estimates of value received from the market/data, cost, and income approaches to arrive at a final estimate of market value for the subject property. 2. An accounting procedure that balances a trust account by comparing the general ledger with the combined total of the account’s individual ledger balances.
The act of entering or recording documents affecting or conveying interests in real estate in the recorder’s office established in each county. Until recorded, a deed or mortgage generally is not effective against subsequent purchases or mortgage liens.
Recovery fund
A fund established in some states from real estate license funds to cover claims of aggrieved parties who have suffered monetary damage through the actions of a real estate licensee. To protect the public, some states mandate errors and omissions insurance as a requirement for licensure.
Redemption period
A period of time established by state law during which a property owner has the right to redeem her or his real estate from a foreclosure or tax sale by paying the sales price, interest, and costs. Many states do not have mortgage redemption laws.
The illegal practice of denying loans or restricting their number for certain areas of a community.
Regulation Z
A regulation of the Federal Reserve Board designed to ensure that borrowers and customers in need of consumer credit are given meaningful information with respect to the cost of credit.
To relinquish an interest in or claim to a parcel of property.
Relocation service
An organization that aids a person in selling a property in one area and buying another property in another area.
The remnant of an estate that has been conveyed to take effect and be enjoyed after the termination of a prior estate, such as when an owner conveys a life estate to one party and the remainder to another.
Renegotiable rate mortgage
A mortgage loan that is granted for a term of 3 to 5 years and secured by a long-term mortgage of up to 30 years with the interest rate being renegotiated or adjusted each period.
A fixed, periodic payment made by a tenant of a property to the owner for possession and use; usually by prior agreement of the parties.
Rent schedule
A statement of proposed rental rates, determined by the owner or the property manager or both, based on a building’s estimated expenses, market supply and demand, and the owner’s long-range goals for the property.
Replacement cost
The cost of construction at current prices of a building having utility equivalent to the building being appraised but built with modern materials and according to current standards, designs, and layout.
Reproduction cost
The cost of construction at current prices of an exact duplicate or replica using the same materials, construction standards, design, layout, and quality of workmanship and embodying all the deficiencies, superadequacies, and obsolescences of the subject building.
The termination of a contract by mutual agreement of the parties.
Reservation in a deed
The creation by a deed to property of a new right in favor of the grantor. Usually involves an easement, a life estate, or a mineral interest.
A limitation on the use of real property, generally originated by the owner or subdivider in a deed.
Reverse annuity mortgage
A mortgage loan that allows the owner to receive periodic payments based on the equity in the home.
The remnant of an estate that the grantor holds after he or she has granted a life estate to another person; the estate will return or revert to the grantor. Also called a reverter.
Reversionary right
An owner’s right to regain possession of leased property on termination of the lease agreement.
The process involved in changing the existing zoning of a property or area.
Right of first refusal
A person’s right to have the first opportunity to either lease or purchase real property.
Riparian rights
An owner’s rights in land that borders flowing water, such as a stream or river. These rights include access to and use of the water.
Rural development
A federal agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that channels credit to farmers and rural residents and communities; formerly known as the Farm Service Agency and Farmer’s Home Administration (FmHA). Real estate terms that begin with S
The act of acquiring a new mortgage to replace the old mortgage, oftentimes advantageous to the borrower.